Sardegna is the second largest island in the Mediterranean behind Sicily . Between the attention that is afforded Sicily and the love people have for Italy and the Roman Empire , Sardegna almost gets lost in the shuffle. However, to best understand the island and its rich culture, we must start at the very beginning, which begins further back in history than one might believe.

The oldest known human remains on the island date back to 250,000 BC. It has been suggested that the original inhabitants were highly advanced through examination of the tool and weaponry work. It is unknown how long the people remain on the island. Among other things that were unearthed through myriad excavations on the island, ancient dried grapes were the most interesting. It appears that the people of Sardegna were making some type of wine well before any other nation in Europe .

If you were to imagine a portion of the history of Sardegna on a timeline, with 250,000 BC is the point at the far left and the Roman Empire at the far right, the rise of the Nuragic people/civilization would fall in the middle. It is speculated that the people who came to establish this civilization were from the eastern part of the Mediterranean, called the Shardana. This is believed to be true because much of their artwork and architecture is similar in style to the people from the eastern Mediterranean.

The Nuragics were able to establish many sea-based trade routes, which led them to come into contact with many different peoples. One of the civilizations that they came into contact with was the Phoenicians. However, they did not always remain on good terms. War broke out on the island in 509 BC between the Nuragics and the Phoenicians. The Nuragics called for the help of Carthage in the battle, and wound up becoming a province of the Carthaginian Empire. However, their falling under the domain of the Carthaginians would not last long. In the year 238 BC, after the First Punic War with Carthage, Rome captured Sardegna, and held on to it for the remainder of the Empire (roughly 650 years).

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the island fell under the domination of the Vandals for less than 100 years. The Vandals’ reign on the island came to an end when the island was recaptured by the Byzantines, under the rule of Justinian. The Byzantines would hold on to Sardegna until the Arabs began raiding the Mediterranean. Though the Muslims were successful in conquering the island of Sicily, Sardegna was able to defend itself from attack by dividing itself into four districts that were responsible for their own defense. In time these districts became kingdoms that often found themselves as provinces of either Genoa or Pisa during the medieval era.

Around the 15th century, Sardegna was attacked and occupied by the Spanish. It would remain under Spanish control for approximately 300 years until it was given ‘independent status’ by the end of the 18th century. This independence lasted until the unification of Italy in 1860. Currently, the island enjoys being a part of Italy but has been granted regional autonomy.

Perhaps the most interesting and long lasting effect of the island’s overwhelming history is the language. The dialect in Sardegna is unlike any other dialect spoken in Italy. The language, being an officially recognized language, has a very heavy element of Latin, which makes it a Romance language. However, there are many elements within the language that are derived from Phoenician, Etruscan, Greek, Spanish and Latin. This has set the language apart from many other Italian dialects. It is also important to note that the language differs from region to region within the island.

The island is filled with natural beauty. It has vast beaches and wonderful panoramic views of the Mediterranean. Today, the island relies heavily on tourism as a large factor in its economy. Many tourists find their way to the island seeking the sun, warmth and the overwhelming history that the island can surely grant them.